Out of governor’s race, Penry mulls Colorado Senate
November 21, 2009
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Republican Josh Penry says he will decide over the holidays whether to run for re-election to his state Senate seat after he dropped out of the race for governor.
Penry ended his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination two weeks ago, saying Republican rival Scott McInnis has more money, better name recognition and a better chance to unseat Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.
Penry, of Grand Junction, was elected to the state Senate in 2006 after serving one term in the state House. Fellow Republicans named him Senate minority leader when he was 33.
Penry said Friday he would return money donated to his gubernatorial campaign to the contributors.
“It just didn’t feel right to keep it” for any future campaign of his own or to donate it to other Republicans, Penry told a lunchtime gathering of Republicans in Grand Junction.
Penry reported raising about $416,000 in the latest quarter, compared with nearly $550,000 for McInnis. Ritter reported collecting $452,000.
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Penry said he’s committed to defeating Ritter, but he hasn’t endorsed McInnis. Penry served on McInnis’ congressional staff.
After announcing his withdrawal, Penry said he still thinks he’s the “right man for the job” but that McInnis is preferable to another Ritter term.
Evergreen businessman Dan Maes is the only other announced Republican candidate for governor. Penry said Friday there will be an announcement about that race the week of Nov. 22, but he offered no details.
Maes reported raising about $12,000 in the most recent quarter.
When Penry announced his gubernatorial candidacy, he said the GOP needed “a clean break.”
He said the party should acknowledge its failures and stress fiscal discipline.
“The Republican Party hasn’t had any credibility there after years of governing,” he said.